George Galloway and Piara Khabra


by Sunny
24th April, 2007 at 11:12 am    

George Galloway MP (Bethnal Bow and Green) has promised he won’t be standing at the next election. Piara Khabra MP (Southall) was told a while back he wouldn’t be allowed to stand for his seat again. So who will replace them both?

The race to find a successor to Oona King as Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow has hit fever pitch after the party finally settled on its shortlist of candidates. Former Tower Hamlets council leaders John Biggs and Helal Abbas have been named alongside four previously selected contestants. They now battle it out with Tower Hamlets councillor Lutfur Rahman and the three remaining women in the contest, Dr Rupa Huq, Rushanara Ali and Cllr Shiria Khatun. A grand hustings takes place on April 26 with a final ballot of 500 party members two days later. [East London Advertiser via David Osler]

The person who gets elected is very likely to become the next MP for that area. Meanwhile, I didn’t get around to writing about this earlier, Labour has imposed an all-women’s-shortlist for Southall. Unsurprisingly that has annoyed a few local councillors but that’s nothing to cry over. The smart money is on Sonika Nirwal taking over. If she wins the seat, she will be competing with Priti Patel to take the title of first Asian woman MP.


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  1. Leon — on 24th April, 2007 at 2:41 pm  

    I’m don’t think its a shoe-in for a Labour candidate. Labour haven’t done so well at a council level, any new candidate hasn’t got the profile (nor much time to build it up before the next GE) that Oona King had.

    Obviously Respect aren’t fairing much better but it they do hold the seat, do have at least one person being groomed to take over and still can exploit the anti war sympathies within the constituency.

    It’s going to a real battle for both parties and will probably be the most interesting seat in the country to watch at the next GE…

  2. sonia — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:28 pm  

    i see george galloway is on facebook!

  3. Leon — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:34 pm  

    Yup, he added me as a friend.:D

  4. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:15 pm  

    Salma Yaqoob for Bethnal. May end up with her being the first of two Asian women MPs.

    As for All-women shortlists, its good news and its bad. The good news is that it still exists. The bad is that it was used by Blair to stop possible candidates he didn’t like and push for those he did.

    In the hands on New Labour its a method of control and not what it was intended to be – a method of increasing democratic representation.

    Before the thread gets silly, its worth remembering 60% of Galloway’s support was from non-Asians origin.

    I was going to say non-muslim, but then that would just set the discussion aflame.

  5. Sunny — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:19 pm  

    I doubt Salma will fight in Bethnal Green… if there’s anything to unite the Bengalis, it will be campaigning against a Pakistani candidate. I’ll bet you any money Refresh.

  6. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:21 pm  

    Sunny I hadn’t thought of that bias. Very sad if true.

    On the other hand I never saw Salma as Pakistani. British definitely.

  7. Leon — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:22 pm  

    There’s no way Salma will fight in London. She did too well in Birmingham, is a Councillor there and will probably run again and might even win in the next GE.

  8. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:23 pm  

    Actually thinking about it – don’t you ever think that Pickled Politics is actually working against its own objectives by breaking everyone down into ethnic groupings?

  9. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:23 pm  

    I do hope you are right Leon.

  10. sonia — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:26 pm  

    i saw that Leon!

  11. Sunny — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:28 pm  

    don’t you ever think that Pickled Politics is actually working against its own objectives by breaking everyone down into ethnic groupings?

    I’m stating the obvious, not running a campaign on the issue. It’s a fact people in Bethnal played on Oona King’s black and Jewish background.

    And anyway, whatever Salma Yaqoob’s qualities, I’m not going to be endorsing a Respect candidate. There are far more intelligent women out there.

  12. sonia — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:29 pm  

    “Actually thinking about it – don’t you ever think that Pickled Politics is actually working against its own objectives by breaking everyone down into ethnic grouping”

    heh if that’s what PP was doing i would think it be working against its own objectives, definitely.

  13. sonia — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:30 pm  

    “if there’s anything to unite the Bengalis, it will be campaigning against a Pakistani candidate”

    heh that’s for sure.

  14. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:31 pm  

    Yes it was sad too.

    If you were to endorse Salma – that would be quite a turnaround.

    Not sure about your “There are far more intelligent women out there”. Not at all.

  15. douglas clark — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:36 pm  

    Seems a shame that Oona King has walked away from the Bethnal Green and Bow fight. I assume she’d have been reselected if she’d wanted to stand?

    So how does this facebook thing work anyway? Seems I’ve got to join a group, but there isn’t a PP group, so how do I see Georgie boys profile?

  16. Leon — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:46 pm  

    So how does this facebook thing work anyway? Seems I’ve got to join a group, but there isn’t a PP group, so how do I see Georgie boys profile?

    You sign up for an account but don’t have to join any groups. There is a PP group but it is closed at the mo, I restricted it when I set it up to let the writers join first but thinking about it we should probably open it up…

    As for GG, just search for his name, if he’s set his settings to open you should be able to see his full profile.

  17. douglas clark — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:10 pm  

    Thanks Leon.

  18. lithcol — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:14 pm  

    Dear me all this ethnic division, the BNP will have a field day. In any ward we want a candidate who when elected will have the wellbeing of all the constituents as their main concern.

    Any short list should be arrived at on the capabilities of the candidates, not on their sex, ethnicity etc. Local input and not central party influences should be paramount. Lets get back to our democratic roots.

  19. Leon — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:16 pm  

    Heh a BNP member lecturing others about ethnic division? Whatever next!? :D

  20. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:24 pm  

    I had not idea Litcol was a member. Are there any others on PP?

  21. Anas — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:28 pm  

    Are there any others on PP?

    I’ve got the strangest feeling I wouldn’t really be welcome as a member, just a hunch.

  22. lithcol — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:34 pm  

    Leon,
    I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry at your uncalled besmirching of my character.

    There are lots of good local male and females of various ethnic backgrounds. Eg. if you are a female of Pakistani origin it should have no bearing on you being selected to represent people in an area were many of the electorate are Bangladeshi.

    If elected you represent all the electorate and they should feel confident in approaching you with their problems.

    My reference to the BNP is valid. They will and do use ethnic and increasingly religious divisions to their advantage if they can.

    It would be civil of you to withdraw your unfounded slur, based on I know not what.

  23. Rumbold — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:37 pm  

    Leon, if someone is angry when you call them a BNP member, then they are probably not one. You may disagree with Lithcol but that is uncalled for.

  24. ZinZin — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:38 pm  

    Dear me all this ethnic division, the BNP will have a field day. In any ward we want a candidate who when elected will have the wellbeing of all the constituents as their main concern.

    The use of the word “we” in the second sentence gave Leon the idea. Without foundation? probably but you could have worded it better and you are opposed to quotas on any grounds.

  25. Leon — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:45 pm  

    As ZinZin has noted it was the use of language that implied membership. My apologies to lithcol if s/he is not a member.

  26. ally — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:50 pm  

    They now battle it out with Tower Hamlets councillor Lutfur Rahman and the three remaining women in the contest, Dr Rupa Huq, Rushanara Ali and Cllr Shiria Khatun.

    Oooh, I used to know Rupa Huq from our Red Pepper days. She’s erm, a very earnest young woman.

    Do I win an award for the least interesting contribution of the day?

  27. Sunny — on 24th April, 2007 at 6:10 pm  

    Ally, heh. I interviewed Rupa once for a debate on which party was worth voting for. Nice woman, but I’m afraid she completely floundered all over the place.

    Dear me all this ethnic division, the BNP will have a field day. In any ward we want a candidate who when elected will have the wellbeing of all the constituents as their main concern.

    Is voting on the basis of ethnicity (which I don’t approve of) any better or worse than voting on class lines? Besides, Asians are not the only ethnic group voting on the basis of ethnicity you know. I’ve heard tons of stories of perfectly capable Asian candidates being given short shrift my local councils because they “weren’t suitable”.

  28. ally — on 24th April, 2007 at 6:21 pm  

    The thing I hate most about identity-based voting is that I live in Gerald Kaufman’s constituency (hey, someone has to.)

    Too often I’ve found myself having to defend the slimy, warmongering old NewLabourite from local Muslims who have tried to get him deselected or voted out, quite shamelessly, because he’s a Jew. The fact that he is actually more sound on Palestine and Zionism than most Labour MPs has passed them by. His surname is enough to condemn him.

    It feels like protecting a slug from attack by the wasps, an odious task but the right thing to do.

  29. lithcol — on 24th April, 2007 at 6:25 pm  

    The we referred to was the collective we i.e. we the general electorate. It was not meant to refer to the collective ‘wee’ of the BNP. I should on reflection have qualified its use.

    He accepts your apology Leon.

    Sunny, I want a good local labour candidate chosen, irrespective of race, ethnic origin, religion or none, and sex. Oh and class lines. But then I’m an idealist and am bound to be disappointed. Politics is such a dirty game.

  30. Chairwoman — on 24th April, 2007 at 7:38 pm  

    Ally – Although I am Jewish, I have never been a fan of Gerald Kaufman. I think, however, that you’ll find that he was against the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  31. soru — on 24th April, 2007 at 8:00 pm  

    Is it ok to vote based on who has a sister on Blue Peter?

  32. A Councillor writes — on 24th April, 2007 at 9:55 pm  

    I suspect Salma will stand for a seat in Birmingham, but not the one people think she will and not for the party people think she will.

  33. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 10:58 pm  

    I like Gerald. But his support for the first Gulf war did put me off – for a while – at least until you learn there are people who are genuinely objectionable.

    Sonia, I can’t decide whether your comments 12 & 13 were meant to be ironical.

  34. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 11:00 pm  

    A qualified apology and a qualified acceptance. ie no apology and no denial. Leon, Lithcol politicians both.

  35. ZinZin — on 24th April, 2007 at 11:09 pm  

    Ironic, not ironical.

  36. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 11:28 pm  

    ZinZin – yes you’re right. Or are you?

    The other reason for being on here – get my engrezi sorted.

  37. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 11:30 pm  

    “Ironic means exhibiting irony whilst ironical means in an ironic manner”

    Of course I may be wrong.

  38. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 11:43 pm  

    “I’m stating the obvious, not running a campaign on the issue.”

    Why don’t you run a campaign on the issue?

  39. lithcol — on 25th April, 2007 at 12:14 am  

    Refresh,
    Are you accusing Leon and myself of dissembling, the true art of the politician?

    Do I have to deny explicitly interest in, membership of or support for the BNP or any other antidemocratic organization?

    I will keep you guessing. You appear to have a fertile imagination and may eventually discern that I may be the reincarnation of Genghis Khan or some mother bogey man.

    Enough said. off to bed and a couple of chapters of Mein Kamp before shuteye.

  40. douglas clark — on 25th April, 2007 at 12:15 am  

    A councillor writes,

    Re post 32, come on, tell us what you know!

    Incidentally, are you the only shy retiring Councillor on the planet? Why not publish under your own name, Terry does:

    http://councillorterrykelly.blogspot.com/

    And he is quite something else. You, OTOH, seem quite sensible, if a tad mysterious.

  41. douglas clark — on 25th April, 2007 at 12:28 am  

    soru,

    Post 31.

    Sure, whatever does it for you. I knew old ladies that voted ’cause the candidate had a twinkle in their eye.

    Bloody hell.

    Democracy, who’d have believed it.

  42. Halima — on 25th April, 2007 at 12:41 am  

    Interesting discussion. As far as I can tell in Bethnal Green & Bow, Labour is putting out its strongest candidates to win over the seat from RESPECT. Big challenge this year – whereas before RESPECT came in with a winning ticket on the anti-war issue, this time they are campaigning on broader issues relating to basic services ( housing, health, and hospitals) and campaigning in a style that well – frankly – more established parties can’t keep up with. RESPECT is above all, close to grassroots and constiuency politics, and Labour and others are perherps these days closer to wheels in Whitehall. Normally this is the way of the world and politics it would seem; however, in a constitiency that is publicly anti-war, and against increased anti-terrirosm measures, more of the same politicians isn’t likely to work.

    I doubt that RESPECT voters in Tower Hamlets will care if candidate is Bangladeshi or Pakistani – they will settle for a candidate that offers them an alternative to Labour.

    This is because RESPECT voters are highly politicised, Islamic leaning young Bangladeshis who aren’t proud of their nationalism. This is the great thing thing about new Muslim identities in East London – it doesn’t recognise nationalisms including the traditinal Pakistani/Bangladeshi thing.

    Labur’s strongest candidates will in fact be Rushnara Ali (very good candidate) and Lutfar Rahman – good candidate and good engagement with grassroots.

    Ultimately the election here will be won on local issues and voters will lose out to any candidates that seeminly echoe New Labour too closely on anti-war/Iraq issues which is what lost Oona King her seat. This s fact before anyone disputes this whatever else was branded about the newspapers at the time. The ones that did vote for Oona were still Bangladshi Muslims and so the protest vote didn’t go her why for obvious reasons.

    Labour will have to fight hard at the grassroots level to win back the seat so choose your candidate carefully – that’s the challenge RESPECT has thrown at them.

    The odds are that Labour will put forward Rushnara as a candidate.

  43. Refresh — on 25th April, 2007 at 1:13 am  

    “Are you accusing Leon and myself of dissembling, the true art of the politician?”
    No not dissembling, but it reminded me of how Blair et al seemingly get out of holes.

    I make no judgement beyond what I read here.

    Even Ghengis Khan would be quivering in the shadows of today’s ‘progressives’.

  44. Refresh — on 25th April, 2007 at 1:18 am  

    Halima, interesting points.

    I believe the Respect vote is not an ‘ethnically’ based vote. As I understand it 60% of their support at the last election was not from the Bangladeshi community – despite what everyone wanted to believe.

    Both on PP and HP.

    The broader issues I expect them to campaign on are no longer in the remit of Labour, not New Labour.

  45. Halima — on 25th April, 2007 at 1:27 am  

    Yes, RESPECT isn’t just Bangladeshis, you are right, there is the local left – which comprises a larger section of RESPECT supporters who are also perhaps caught in a bind this time about voting/not voting for RESPECT. Galloway will have lost a lot of credibility hence the drive to rescue RESPECT credentials.

  46. The Common Humanist — on 25th April, 2007 at 10:17 am  

    With George Galloway gone that will mean one less Hard Right MP in the HOuse. This is progress 8-)

  47. tim — on 25th April, 2007 at 10:29 am  

    Salma will not stand.The SWP hate her and its mutual.

    Any truth in the rumours that shes going to stand for the Lib Dems in Birmingham Ladywood.

  48. ali hussian — on 25th April, 2007 at 11:45 am  

    George Galloway has his eyes on the European Parliament and with Respect making considerable progres since its launch, once can easily assyme he will win on proprortonal basis.
    The last tiem he stood for EU, even though his party was less known, he lost be just a few hundred votes. he is known more and well across the political spectrum now, so i see him progressing in that area.
    As for Tower Hamlets, his party has a ground swell of youth support and as you may appreciate one of Respects councilllors is the youngest in whole of britain. Localy he enjoys a good support, so labour is definitely in for a tough fight.
    Salma Yaqoob is an outstanding politician and if the typical pakistani baradri politics does not interevne, she will win in Birmingham. Her record of last GE speaks for itself. Anyways support for bigger parties is dwindling!

  49. tim — on 25th April, 2007 at 12:05 pm  

    Respect is unlikely to exist then.
    Its shrinking so fast that its only fielding 43 candidates in next Thursdays elections (The BNP – 655 Greens – 1100)

    As for Galloway, he’ll go where the cash is.
    It used to be Bagdhad.
    Now its chat shows.
    C’est la vie.

  50. The Common Humanist — on 25th April, 2007 at 1:25 pm  

    Perhaps He’ll take a gig in Syria……..he loves proto-nazi wannabees so since his mate and his sons lost their gangsta gig in Iraq Damascus would be the next choice………….

  51. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 25th April, 2007 at 1:53 pm  

    Salma Yaqoob is an outstanding politician and if the typical pakistani baradri politics does not interevne, she will win in Birmingham.

    Outstanding politician? Are we talking about the same woman here? The one that claimed that the 7/7 terrorist incident was part of “reprisal attacks”?

    TFI

  52. tim — on 25th April, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

    Salma is very confused about her positions.
    She claims to have become politicised when spat on in the street after 9/11.
    Yet two years earlier she had been part of a campaign on behalf of the “Yemen 7″ Including Abu Hamzas son.

    Most of her articles seem to be bland jargon blaming Blair for everything since the crusades.
    But we’ll see what happens when Respect fizzles out.

  53. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 25th April, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

    Most of her articles seem to be bland jargon blaming Blair for everything since the crusades.

    Are you sure she doesn’t blame him for the crusades as well?

    TFI

  54. The Common Humanist — on 25th April, 2007 at 5:11 pm  

    “Salma Yaqoob is an outstanding politician and if the typical pakistani baradri politics does not interevne, she will win in Birmingham”

    I have watched her being very sensible and yet I have seen her being quite the islamist so I don’t really know which is the real SY. Or put another way, campaigning to free people involved in wanting (and actually?) to murder civilians doesn’t reflect very well at all on her.

  55. Leon — on 25th April, 2007 at 5:25 pm  

    A qualified apology and a qualified acceptance. ie no apology and no denial. Leon, Lithcol politicians both.

    For the love of…look, I apologised. Just wanted to make it clear that I only thought what I wrote because I what he wrote, I was attempting to make clear that this wasn’t a previously held view.

  56. Refresh — on 25th April, 2007 at 5:41 pm  

    Leon,

    Hahaha, I was pulling legs. I know I’m not known for my humour.

    Having said that, you did qualify the apology with ‘if’, and Lithcol responded in kind.

    So we are all left none the wiser.

  57. A Councillor writes — on 25th April, 2007 at 8:56 pm  

    Douglas @ 40

    I am cultivating an air of mystery :)

    To be honest, I like the freedom of being able to say what I want without it appearing on the opposition’s election leaflets. Also I’d rather be judged on what I write rather than who I am.

    I understand there barely a Silver Rizla between Cllr Yacoob and the Birmingham Council Labour Group.

    Also, they are desperate to find a woman for Ladywood to stop Khalid Mahmood’s (ex)-partner from getting the nomination.

    Combine these two and rumours are made.

    I’m aware of Terry Kelly, thanks to this site.

  58. douglas clark — on 25th April, 2007 at 9:21 pm  

    A Councillor writes,

    “I am cultivating an air of mystery :-)

    Fair enough. ;-)

  59. Rumbold — on 25th April, 2007 at 11:23 pm  

    Sorry Leon for snapping at you over Lithcol. I think that Refresh was joking as well.

  60. Refresh — on 25th April, 2007 at 11:53 pm  

    “Or put another way, campaigning to free people involved in wanting (and actually?) to murder civilians doesn’t reflect very well at all on her.”

    The Common Humanist – you had better be clear about what you are saying – and furnish the evidence. Quite a smear otherwise.

    I am afraid it doesn’t reflect at all well on you.

  61. fiz — on 26th April, 2007 at 4:06 pm  

    the hustings is tonight!

  62. Sunny — on 26th April, 2007 at 4:12 pm  

    Fiz, if you know of the outcome, could you email or post the result here?

  63. The Common Humanist — on 26th April, 2007 at 4:28 pm  

    Refresh,
    She was involved, so I understand with a group trying to free people arrested on suspicion of undertaking terrorist acts in Yemen (what I am not sure is if they actually did anything substantive – I doubt it as why try to free them if they did?????)

    I suspect she has grown up considerably since then (given what I have seen of her on Newsnight etc)

    So calm down.

  64. Refresh — on 26th April, 2007 at 5:13 pm  

    I am calm. It just does not help casting aspersions.

    There’s plenty of those coming from John Reid.

  65. Simon — on 29th April, 2007 at 11:51 pm  

    A couple of belated comments on this thread:

    (i) Gerald Kaufman supported the Iraq war, though not without reservation. See http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmhansrd/vo030226/debtext/30226-16.htm#30226-16_spnew7

    (ii) It is unlikely that Salma Yaqoob will win a parliamentary seat in Birmingham next time, as the Sparkbrook & Small Heath seat where she did very well in 2005 is being dismembered. Some of it is going to Hodge Hill, and some is going to Hall Green. Neither are as favourable for Respect as the old Sparkbrook seat. (Incidentally, this will be the first time since 1918 that Sparkbrook doesn’t feature in a constituency name.)

  66. Sunny — on 29th April, 2007 at 11:56 pm  

    Interesting Simon, thanks for pointing that out.

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